Sewing Tutorial: Reverse-Applique

Reverse Applique 1

I am into serious thinking about redesigning my header recently. Though the existing header which was done by my friend’s niece looks good but I want something really represent my handmade skill. What about I sew my own header instead of using computer graphic for it. That’s how I came out with the idea of reverse-applique of “Craft Passion”. While making it, I think of you! May be you want to try it out and make your favorite design into a reverse-applique embellishment 😉 Here is the tutorial!

Reverse Applique 3

1. Use an  erasable fabric marker to draw the design on the fabric surface you want to place a reverse-applique motif.  Place a contrasting fabric at the bottom of your design, secure both layers with pins. The bottom fabric should have at least 1/2″ allowance from the outline of the drawn design.

Reverse Applique 4

2. With thread/embroidery floss and needle, sew both layers with the type of  stitches you want, I sewed with running stitch for this instance. If your design is big with less curvy outlines, you might want to consider using sewing machine to do the job since it helps you to accomplish the project faster  😆 Either straight line or zigzag stitch will be a good idea for reverse-applique by sewing machine.

Reverse Applique 5

3. After you have finished with the sewing, use a sharp point scissor to cut out ONLY the top fabric. You have to do this carefully and precisely, about 1mm-2mm from the edge of the stitching line. I used my favorite DMC scissor for this job as I don’t want to risk my work by accidentally cut the stitches or the bottom fabric by mistake. As always, in order to have a nice piece of handmade, I emphasized on  using the right tool for the right job.

Reverse Applique 6

4.  This is how a reverse-applique looks after removing the top fabric. You are not confined to only 2 layers of fabric in reverse-applique, you can add as many layers as you want depending on your design, but be sensible otherwise your project will be too thick. Notice the different between the top and bottom pictures of both “P” I have made? Look carefully at the center cavity of the alphabet!!!

Reverse Applique 2

5.  This is the example 3-layer reverse-applique where the cavity is another layer of white fabric at the bottom of the brown fabric.

As you know, woven fabric will fray a bit at the edge. If you are making it for everyday-use project, like garment and bag  where washing is needed for example, I would suggest that you use back-stitch (hand sewn) or zig-zag (machine sewn) as this will let your work last longer.

Reverse Applique 7Reverse Applique 8

I did 2 and I don’t know which to choose for my header as I like both of them. Will you help me to choose?

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22 comments... read them below or add one

  1. Olá !!
    Quero lhe agradecer muito por compartilhar… Fiquei super feliz em aprender essa técnica nem imaginava como era feita!!! Voce é muito especial…grande abraço
    Saudações de Curitiba ,Paraná – Brasil

    Translation (by Google):
    I want to thank you very much for sharing … I was super happy to learn this technique no idea how it was made!! You are very special big hug …
    Greetings from Curitiba, Paraná – Brazil

  2. Thank you for tutorial. I like the first one, it is easy to read.

  3. Pingback:Sewing | Pattern | Tutorial | Hand Applique | Free Pattern & Tutorial at

  4. I prefer the first one but would love to have seen them close together or next to each other for a cute header…..Greatjob! 🙂

  5. the first one 🙂
    the second one is hard to read.
    but they are so cute..

    loves from Türkiye…

  6. Wow, nice effect. I’m going to use it for the kid’s t-shirts. Too bad they are still too young to read it. I’d take the first because of the contrast.

  7. I like the first one, the Pink “Craft” with the brown “Passion” is very well done! The contrast is better. The second would look good if the top white layer were a darker color, like red, orange or lime green. It would make the letters easier to read.

    I love reading your work and project ideas! The granny rug is a goal. I thought about making several and using strong magnets to allow them to hook together so that I can cover a wider area in my kitchen and still be able to machine wash them.

  8. Wow, your tutorials are wonderful! I would love to link to them if you didn’t mind!

  9. Well I am a big fan of brown and pink (that’s my website’s color scheme) So that would be my first pick… but the second fabric is really pretty and whimsical

    • Wow, your blog looks awesome. I like all those video tutorials you gave. I wouldn’t agree with you more on the color scheme of your blog, they look sweet in this combination 🙂

  10. I really admire your sewing skill. The stiches are so neat and beautiful! 😉

  11. Hi, I came across your blog while looking for a crochet bag tutorial and fell completely in love with it, you have such original and cute ideas!
    I particularly liked the tutorial on recyling T-shirts into yarn.
    All the best

  12. Such a cool idea for a header!! They’re both gorgeous, but I think I prefer the 1st. The higher contrast makes it easier to read the letters.

    I posted a link to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


  13. Pingback:Tutorial: Reverse applique · Sewing @ CraftGossip

  14. both are stunning as always, but i prefer the first one. btw congrats on owning “the dazzle”. so happy for you. you promised to make me one, remember? i am serious about it.

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